Just a Number

One thing that I envy conservatives for is their ability to think in terms of statistics.

42 million with no health insurance? Oh well, at least 260 million have it. That’s pretty good right?

12 million illegal immigrants? Send ’em back where they came from. Been here 25 years? Got kids who are grown up and can’t go to college? Should’ve thought of that before you came here.

Liberals tend to think of those numbers as actual people and imagine each one as having hopes and dreams and frustrations and families and lovers which makes it so much harder to come up with sensible policies that don’t leave someone, somewhere out in the cold.

I don’t think you can govern efficiently when you imagine every decision about health spending as someone’s grandma who can’t get a hip replacement and every deportation order as a family being torn up by the roots. Liberals would be so much better off if they could just think of people as statistics.

Despite my earnest belief that it’s better not to care, I was pleased to see Gingrich’s gaff [Gaff. n. when a politician accidentally tells the truth] on immigration.

Here’s Conor Friedersdorf, talking about Newt’s slip up last night.

Is it inhumane to deport an illegal immigrant who came to the United States 25 years ago, established roots, obeyed the law, raised his children here, and now has American grandchildren? Yes, emphatically so. But I suspect that when Newt Gingrich made that assertion during Tuesday evening’s GOP debate, he upset a lot of conservative Republican voters.

Short of calling immigration restrictionists “racist,” the quickest way to upset them is to say that they’re “heartless,” as Rick Perry once put it, or that they suffer from a lack empathy or compassion. That’s the sort of thing liberals are always saying when they attack immigration restrictionists, who resent the accusation even more when it is made by their fellow conservatives. I can imagine how they feel. For the most part, these immigration restrictionists are just as humane as anyone. They give to charity, do volunteer work, help out people in need.

Talking of Newt, I’d like to call to everyone’s attention that I predicted him as the next Republican presidential candidate about two years ago. Sure, he’s a pompous, hypocritical windbag responsible for much of the animosity in american politics today but, to a lot of people, I bet he’s that guy who “presided” over the huge boom in the 90s and stuck it to that upstart Clinton in the Lewinski Affair.

The man is odious but he deserves some credit for speaking a rare truth on illegal immigration. Unfortunately for him, that probably cost him the support of the people most likely to vote for him.

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Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

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